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PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 1:31 am 
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America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

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Like the rest of America, Hollywood was ripe for revolution in the late sixties. Cinema attendance was down; what had once worked seemed broken. Enter Bob Rafelson, Bert Schneider, and Steve Blauner, who knew that what Hollywood needed was new audiences—namely, young people—and that meant cultivating new talent and new ideas. Fueled by money made from their invention of the superstar TV pop group the Monkees, they set off on a film-industry journey that would lead them to form BBS Productions, a company that was also a community. The innovative films produced by this team between 1968 and 1972 are collected in this box set—works created within the studio system but lifted right out of the countercultural id, and that now range from the iconic (Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces, The Last Picture Show) to the acclaimed (The King of Marvin Gardens) to the obscure (Head; Drive, He Said; A Safe Place).

Head

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Hey, hey, it’s the Monkees . . . being catapulted through one of American cinema’s most surreal sixties odysseys. The brainchild of Bob Rafelson, making his directorial debut; his producing partner and Monkees cocreator Bert Schneider; and Jack Nicholson, a coscreenwriter on the project, Head was the fanciful beginning and ignominious end of the TV-bred supergroup’s big-screen career. In it, Mickey Dolenz, Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith, and Peter Tork become trapped in a kaleidoscopic satire that’s movie homage, media send-up, concert movie, and antiwar cry all at once. A constantly looping, self-referential spoof that was ahead of its time, Head escaped commercial success on its release but has since been reclaimed as one of the great cult objects of its era.

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Easy Rider

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As Billy and “Captain America,” Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda motored down the highway on their Harley Davidsons to the roaring strains of Steppenwolf’s “Born to Be Wild,” the definitive counterculture blockbuster was born. The former clean-cut teen star Hopper’s down-and-dirty directorial debut, Easy Rider heralded the arrival of a new voice in film, one positioned firmly, angrily against the mainstream. After Easy Rider—with its radical, New Wave–style editing, outsider-rock soundtrack, revelatory performance by a young Jack Nicholson, and explosive ending—the American road trip would never be the same.

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Five Easy Pieces

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Following Jack Nicholson’s breakout supporting turn in Easy Rider, director Bob Rafelson devised a powerful leading role for the new star in the searing character study Five Easy Pieces. Nicholson plays the now iconic cad Bobby Dupea, a shiftless thirtysomething oil rigger and former piano prodigy immune to any sense of romantic or familial responsibility, who returns to his childhood home to see his ailing, estranged father—his blue-collar girlfriend (Karen Black, like Nicholson nominated for an Oscar) in tow. Moving in its simplicity and gritty in its textures, Five Easy Pieces is a lasting example of early 1970s American alienation.

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Drive, He Said

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Fresh off of his Five Easy Pieces success, Jack Nicholson mounted his enormously irreverent directorial debut. Based on the best-selling novel by Jeremy Larner, Drive, He Said, free-spirited and sobering by turns, is a sketch of the exploits of a disaffected college basketball player (William Tepper) and his increasingly radical roommate (Michael Margotta), as well as a feverishly shot and edited snapshot of the early seventies (some of it was filmed during an actual campus protest). Fueled by Vietnam-era anxieties and perched on the edge of utter insanity, Nicholson’s audacious comedy (also starring Bruce Dern and Karen Black) is a startling howl direct from the zeitgeist.

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A Safe Place

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One of the discoveries of the groundbreaking production company BBS was director Henry Jaglom. The fiercely idiosyncratic filmmaker—who would go on to have a decades-spanning career making independently produced female character studies—was first revealed to the film world with A Safe Place. In this delicate, introspective drama, laced with fantasy elements, Tuesday Weld stars as a fragile young woman in New York, unable to reconcile her ambiguous past with her unmoored present; Orson Welles as an enchanting Central Park magician and Jack Nicholson as a mysterious ex-lover round out the cast.

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The Last Picture Show

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The Last Picture Show is one of the key films of the American cinema renaissance of the seventies. Set during the early fifties, in the loneliest Texas nowheresville to ever dust up a movie screen, this aching portrait of a dying West, adapted from Larry McMurtry’s novel, focuses on the daily shuffles of three futureless teens—the enigmatic Sonny (Timothy Bottoms), the wayward jock Duane (Jeff Bridges), and the desperate-to-be-adored rich girl Jacy (Cybil Shepherd)—and the aging lost souls who bump up against them in the night like drifting tumbleweeds, including Cloris Leachman’s lonely housewife and Ben Johnson’s grizzled movie-house proprietor. Featuring evocative black-and-white imagery and profoundly felt performances, this hushed depiction of crumbling American values remains the pivotal film in the career of the invaluable director and film historian Peter Bogdanovich.

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The King of Marvin Gardens

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For his electrifying follow-up to the smash success of Five Easy Pieces, Bob Rafelson dug even deeper into the crushed dreams of wayward America. Jack Nicholson and Bruce Dern play estranged siblings David and Jason, the former a depressive late-night-radio talk show host, the latter an extroverted con man; when Jason drags his younger brother to a dreary Atlantic City and into a real-estate scam, events spiral into tragedy. The King of Marvin Gardens, also starring a brilliant Ellen Burstyn as Jason’s bitter aging beauty-queen squeeze, is one of the most devastating character studies of the seventies.

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SPECIAL EDITION NINE-DVD (OR SIX BLU-RAY) SET FEATURES

HEAD
•New, restored high-definition digital transfer (with DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-ray edition)
•Audio commentary featuring Monkees Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, and Peter Tork
•New video interview with director Bob Rafelson
•New documentary about BBS, featuring critic David Thomson and historian Douglas Brinkley
•More!

EASY RIDER
•New, restored high-definition digital transfer (with DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)
•Audio commentary featuring director Dennis Hopper
•Easy Rider: Shaking the Cage, a 1999 documentary featuring behind-the-scenes footage
•Footage of Hopper and star Peter Fonda at Cannes in 1969
•New video interview with BBS’s Steve Blauner
•More!

FIVE EASY PIECES
•New, restored high-definition digital transfer (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)
•Audio commentary featuring director Bob Rafelson and interior designer Toby Rafelson
•Soul Searching in Five Easy Pieces, a 2009 video piece in which Rafelson discusses the film
•BBStory, a 2009 documentary
•Excerpts from an audio recording of Rafelson at the American Film Institute in 1976

DRIVE, HE SAID
•New, restored high-definition digital transfer (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)
•A Cautionary Tale of Campus Revolution and Sexual Freedom, a 2009 video piece in which director Jack Nicholson discusses the experience of making this film
•Theatrical trailer
•More!

A SAFE PLACE
•New, restored high-definition digital transfer (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)
•Audio commentary featuring director Henry Jaglom
•Henry Jaglom Finds “A Safe Place,” a 2009 video piece in which the director discusses the film
•Notes on the New York Film Festival, a 1971 video piece featuring an interview conducted by critic Molly Haskell with directors Peter Bogdanovich and Jaglom about their films The Last Picture Show and A Safe Place
•Deleted scene and screen tests
•Theatrical trailer

THE LAST PICTURE SHOW
•New, restored high-definition digital transfer (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)
•Two audio commentaries, one featuring director Peter Bogdanovich and the other featuring Bogdanovich and actors Cybill Shepherd, Randy Quaid, Cloris Leachman, and Frank Marshall
•Picture This, a 1990 documentary by George Hickenlooper
•“The Last Picture Show”: A Look Back, an hour-long 1999 documentary
•2009 interview with Bogdanovich
•Screen tests and location footage
•Theatrical trailers and more!

THE KING OF MARVIN GARDENS
•New, restored high-definition digital transfer (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)
•Selected-scene audio commentary featuring director Bob Rafelson
•Reflections of a Philosopher King, a 2009 documentary about the making of the film
•Afterthoughts, a short 2002 documentary about the film, produced by Rafelson
•Theatrical trailer

ALSO AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 1:44 am 
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Did you find those spine numbers somewhere, Chris? It actually appears that there are no spine numbers for the box or the individual titles. This looks to be more or less a straight port of what Sony had already prepared (notice all of the 2009 video pieces) when they were going to do this themselves. I wouldn't be surprised if they are all in one foldout digipak like the Sony Fuller set et al.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 1:46 am 
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Jeff wrote:
Did you find those spine numbers somewhere, Chris? It actually appears that there are no spine numbers for the box or the individual titles. This looks to be more or less a straight port of what Sony had already prepared (notice all of the 2009 video pieces) when they were going to do this themselves. I wouldn't be surprised if they are all in one foldout digipak like the Sony Fuller set et al.

Currently it's based on the individual images for each title. The file name's for each image actually contain a spine number. I'm working on confirming this, though.

But just to note, it looks as though Criterion is actually distributing this set and not Sony (though, like you said, I'm sure it's pretty much a port.)


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 1:48 am 
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Spine numbers confirmed here.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 1:49 am 
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Criterion noted on Facebook that Drive He Said and A Safe Place would share a disc in the bluray set. Criterion's site doesn't indicate which three titles will be two discs in the nine disc DVD set, but based on special features, I'd think the two disc films will be Five Easy Pieces, The Last Picture Show and either Easy Rider or Head.

There's quite a large pricing differential on this set 124.95 for bluray (in line with the prices of the Cassavetes set and Berlin Alexanderplatz) and a rather more palatable 99.95 for DVD, there's also a three week gap in the release dates between the bluray and DVD, no idea yet if that's a typo, but it is probably intentional.

I'm sure the dvds will get spine numbers tomorrow or the next day on the website, if you look at the collection by Collector's sets you'll see that the BBS set comes after the last spine numbered set (Sternberg) and before the first non-spine number set (Yojimbo Sanjuro). and that's ordered by spine number. I think it is a website glitch, nothing more.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 1:52 am 
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movielocke wrote:
there's also a three week gap in the release dates between the bluray and DVD, no idea yet if that's a typo, but it is probably intentional.

It's intentional. Criterion's front page announcement clearly states that the BD comes in November and the DVD in December.

This set is way less expensive than I figured it would be. Possibly even low enough for me to consider owning Easy Rider.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 2:07 am 
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Ah, it's just the box itself that will be spineless a la the "collector's sets." I guess that leaves open the eventual possibility of selling them individually, but I imagine that if that ever happens, it'll be a year or two down the road.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 2:12 am 
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It's interesting that Drive He Said and Safe Place have separate spine numbers when they'll both be on the same disc. Maybe they'll get separate discs in the DVD set?


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 2:14 am 
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swo17 wrote:
Possibly even low enough for me to consider owning Easy Rider.
This was my thought when I saw the pricing. Damn near verbatim.

I think they will have a single case enclosing the two DVD discs with Drive he Said and A Safe Place. That would jive better with a single case/disc bluray of the titles. And they wouldn't have to commission three different covers (two for the DVD cases, one for the bluray) for two titles.

and my above post was meant to suggest that the box will also get a spine number, earlier today, list view didn't show spine numbers either, but they were listed in the proper order. The box is currently listed in an order that suggests it has a spine number (it comes before all the non-spine boxes), but the spine number isn't currently showing up on the site.


Last edited by movielocke on Tue Aug 17, 2010 2:18 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 2:16 am 
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Five Easy Pieces and The Last Picture Show - NOFUCKINWAY! And Easy Rider with Dennis Hopper commentary - HOLYFUCKINSHIT!


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 2:30 am 
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Am I am the only who would've liked to hear Nesmith on Head? They should include Biskind's Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, or at least the first half. Great price point.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 2:31 am 
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lacritfan wrote:
Easy Rider with Dennis Hopper commentary - HOLYFUCKINSHIT!

It's also on the current Sony Blu-ray.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 4:34 am 
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Nicholson shares a few brief anecdotes about the making of Drive, He Said after an introduction by the host and Dennis Hopper.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 8:13 am 
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I guess I'm going to have to wait and keep my fingers crossed that someone will sell "Drive, He Said" and "A Safe Place" individually on eBay or something; I'm sure the hell not TRIPLE-dipping on "Easy Rider." 8-[


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 8:30 am 
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Zumpano wrote:
Am I am the only who would've liked to hear Nesmith on Head?

I wanted to hear him, too. Any clues why he opted out on this one?


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 8:33 am 
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It's these kinds of releases that make me oh so thankful for the Barnes and Noble sale.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 8:49 am 
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I bet you can pick this up for $35 on release date! Too bad the DVD set isn't eligible :P


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 8:53 am 

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I kind of wish Criterion added another $30 to the MSRP and delayed the box a few months to put better special features on the set. The supplements look to be a little too scant.

Combining Drive, He Said and A Safe Place on one double-feature disc also strikes me as pretty cheap on their part.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:09 am 

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Zumpano wrote:
Am I am the only who would've liked to hear Nesmith on Head? They should include Biskind's Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, or at least the first half. Great price point.


Let's hope he's part of that "More!"


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:13 am 
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Criterion has done right by the Last Picture Show, no doubt. Wow, finally, Bogdanovich in the collection and in a loaded Blu-ray. Now talk him into reevaluating At Long Last Love, which I'm sure Fox would give away for nothing.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:44 am 
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Re the Biskind stuff: I inhaled (and largely enjoyed) his New Hollywood book, but are "who fucked who" anecdotes, Dennis Hopper domestic violence stories, and the world's largest tank of nitrous really Criterion material?


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:45 am 
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perkizitore wrote:
I bet you can pick this up for $35 on release date! Too bad the DVD set isn't eligible :P

I bet you can't. This releases two days before Thanksgiving. IF there is a november sale, it will certainly be over before the week of Black Friday.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 10:19 am 
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domino harvey wrote:
Criterion has done right by the Last Picture Show, no doubt. Wow, finally, Bogdanovich in the collection and in a loaded Blu-ray. Now talk him into reevaluating At Long Last Love, which I'm sure Fox would give away for nothing.

I want Voyage to the Planet of the Prehistoric Women! (maybe with Planeta Burg)


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 10:32 am 
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Hopefully the trailer for Head is included. It's weird and disturbing.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 11:21 am 
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mfunk9786 wrote:
It's these kinds of releases that make me oh so thankful for the Barnes and Noble sale.

Wait, WHAT??? How often do these sales happen? Is there a thread somewhere that keeps track of them?

Also, I would definitely have liked to have hear Nesmith, but as usual, he seems too busy (doing...?) to Monkee around. It'd be interesting to see how Head and the TV show influenced his later video work (Elephant Parts and so forth).


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